What is Erosive Tooth Wear
When you look at your teeth, they seem solid, but actually the enamel, the outer layer of your tooth, can slowly dissolve if it’s surrounded by acid, such as that found in fruit juices or some fizzy drinks; this is known as ‘erosion’
- Erosion starts when minerals are removed from your teeth, which softens the enamel
- The ingredients for re-hardening your teeth are found in saliva so the softening can be repaired
- The problem comes when there is too much acid for too long a time in your mouth so the ingredients in saliva don’t get close to the teeth for long enough or the damage (‘erosion’) is larger than the amount of ingredients needed to repair it
- If this happens again and again then miniscule amounts of tooth structure can gradually wear away
Erosive tooth wear most often occurs on your front teeth and the biting surfaces of your back teeth
- Parts or all of the top layer of tooth, the enamel, may eventually be lost, exposing the next layer, the dentin. Read more about the structure of your teeth and how acid affects your teeth.
- You are not alone, erosive tooth wear is common, about a third of all adults have it, though few have it severely
How did I get erosive tooth wear?
One of the most common ways to wear away the tooth is by drinking and eating acidic drinks and foods outside meal times.
A number of drinks and some foods can contribute to erosive tooth wear but the amount of times you consume these, especially by frequent snacking, can also influence the amount of erosion
Fruit-based drinks containing citric acid
Other causes can include:
Signs & Symptoms
Changes in the shape and/or appearance/colour of your teeth - Teeth may become shorter and thinner. It may be your dentist who first notices this but don’t wait, make an appointment if you are concerned about this, even if your teeth aren’t hurting
Sensitive teeth - Pain, sometimes severe, when eating or drinking, especially something cold, when exposed to wind or even when talking. Lasts a few seconds, once the stimulating factor is gone the sensitivity may stop
How does acid affect my teeth?
How does erosive tooth wear differ from dental cavities/tooth decay?
Saliva and my teeth?
The pros and cons of restoring your teeth?
The structure of my teeth?
What causes mechanical tooth wear?
What causes sensitive teeth?
What do the other ingredients in toothpaste do?
What does fluoride actually do in erosive tooth wear?